And it’s time again for your Weekly Europe Roundup. This week we have news from Ukraine, where a former president has to face murder charges, Germany, where Merkel’s CDU has to deal with historically bad results in local elections, Italy, who has asked for Unesco protection for pizza, and many more.
Cyprus: Remembering the dead
In the 1960s and ’70s, Cyprus was an island of heavy conflicts between its Greek and Turkish communities, with hundreds of people dying or gone missing. This weekend, the youth from both communities came together and remembered the victims together — for the first time. Read more.
Denmark/Afghanistan: Queen visits Danish soldiers
For the first time, Queen Margrethe has visited the Danish soldiers in Afghanistan. The Queen made the visit together with Defence Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech. Crown Prince Frederik, who already has visited the Danish soldiers, apparently encouraged his mother to do the visit. Read more.
Denmark: Companies to fight Denmark’s bad reputation
Some of the biggest companies in Denmark are worried about the bad image of the country. Highly-educated foreigners, who come to Denmark for work, feel very unwelcome and don’t perceive Denmark as open-minded at all. The companies: Carlsberg, Lego and Novo Nordisk, among others, are therefore worried about not being able to attract the employees they need for future development. Read more.
France: Sarkozy sends a warning to Arab countries
Back to being his usual self after a momentary lapse into decency, Sarkozy warned all leaders, but “especially Arab leaders,” that Libyan intervention set up a precedence for the “responsibility to protect.” as he mentioned recent violence in Syria. Forgetting core differences between Libya and Syria such as Arab League approval, opposition approval, long-term struggle and Gaddafi’s proclamations of intent to murder, Sarkozy is not helping assuage some fears that France has designs for the region. Read more.
Germany: German voters in key state punish CDU (conservative) and FDP (liberal)
Sunday was the day of two state elections, in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatine. 11 million people had the chance to vote and the result was bad news for Chancellor Merkel (CDU) and Vice-Chancellor Westerwelle (FDP). After 58 years, the CDU will, for the first time, not govern Baden-Württemberg, and the state will have the first Green Prime Minister in Germany. The SPD (social democrats) has to face heavy losses in Rhineland-Palatine, but will keep the Prime Minister title by governing together with the CDU. The overall winner though were certainly the Greens, by getting over 10% more votes in both states than five years ago. Read more.
Germany: Knut to be displayed in Museum of Natural History
After determining that Knut the polar bear died of epilepsy, the Berlin Zoo has come to an agreement with the city’s Museum of Natural History. It is not yet clear what kind of exhibition Knut will be part of. The museum, however, has received the remains of the famous polar bear and will be preserving it until a decision is made. Read more.
Ireland: No more “Papers Please”
A law that demanded immigrants be able to produce ID at all times or face criminal charges has been ruled unconstitutional. Known as Section 12, a judge noted that the vagueness of the law failed the test on producing reasonable criminal charges. Read more.
Italy: Asks for Unesco protection for favorite pizza
Neapolitan pizza is delicious and possibly worthy of cultural protection. Italy voted and decided that this pizza, made of mozzarella, tomato, and basil leaves was said to best “sum up the nation.” Recently Unesco added the “Mediterranean Diet” into its intangible cultural heritage list. Could the pizza be soon to follow? Read more.
Poland: Long lost Chopin letters recovered by museum
Letters written to his parents between 1845 and 1848 had gone missing, along with numerous other cultural artifacts, after the Nazi invasion of WWII. Recently the letters of the great composer were recovered from the owners who wished to remain anonymous. Read more.
Portugal: Prime Minister resigns after failed austerity vote
Prime Minster Jose Socrates of Portugal gave his resignation to the president last Wednesday. The austerity measure was said to be one that hurt the poor and was created without valuable input or consensus. Opposition threatened to vote it down and Socrates threatened to resign if it failed. Looks like he kept his word. Read more.
Switzerland: Avalanche kills four
A French group on a skiing trip in Switzerland was hit by an avalanche this weekend. Of the 11 people, four were killed, one is missing and five have been injured. Read more.
U.K.: Britain will stick to cuts regardless of public opinion
Large-scale peaceful protests in the thousands, with a few violent skirmishes thrown into the mix, rocked London on Sunday. Business Secretary Vince Cable said that the government was listening to such concerns, but, was not going to change their economic strategy. Read more.
Ukraine: Ex-leader charged in murder of a journalist
Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has been officially charged in the death of a journalist killed in 2000. Georgy Gongadze was said to be strangled and beheaded at the order of the Interior Ministry. New charges indicate that the idea may have come from the top. Read more.